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August 6, 2010 9:01 PM   Subscribe

The Curfew "is an adventure web-game created by Littleloud, published by Channel 4 and written by acclaimed comic book author, Kieron Gillen. Set in 2027 in the heart of an authoritarian security state, The Curfew could be described as a miniature Canterbury Tales set in a not-so-distant future, where citizens must abide by government security measures and 'sub citizens' are placed under curfew at night. The player must navigate this complex political world and engage with the characters they meet along the way to work out who they should trust in order to gain freedom. Choose wisely and you could change the course of history. Choose poorly, and it'll be changed for you."
posted by catchingsignals (54 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
Looks like the game may be still in beta — it seems to get stuck in a few places, but nothing a reload didn't fix (your progress is saved).
posted by catchingsignals at 9:09 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Possibly of note, before the comicbook stuff Kieron Gillen's background was in games journalism, so he presumably knows one end of a game from the other.
posted by Artw at 9:11 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Possibly of note, before the comicbook stuff Kieron Gillen's background was in games journalism

He still writes plenty on games at the world's best PC gaming site: Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
posted by malphigian at 9:31 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would love to change the course of history, since I have yet to do it in the actual reality in which I live.
posted by Senator at 9:32 PM on August 6, 2010

Mine got stuck right at the end of Lucas's story, and whenever I went to reload it gave me the start of Aisha's - but it seems to be incomplete. Bugger, I was quite enjoying the game.

Although its similarities to modern-day Malaysia - second-class "citizens", heavy censorship, youth distrust, dodgy legalities based on dodgy research - is rather frightening.
posted by divabat at 10:28 PM on August 6, 2010

Looks like I spoke too soon — the screen just goes black and nothing happens after Aisha's home for me, hoping it's something with my computer and it's working for you guys. The reviews I read of it never mentioned any problems — it was supposed to have been released on the 28th of July.

Some articles on the game:
Kieron Gillan's own article about it on Rock, Paper, Shotgun
The Curfew - Four People. One Room. But Who Can You Trust..?
Kieron Gillen interview about The Curfew
posted by catchingsignals at 10:32 PM on August 6, 2010

Damn divabat, guess it's not just me. I was really enjoying it too.
posted by catchingsignals at 10:33 PM on August 6, 2010

(bahahaha at the Facebook-connected video! Watch the comp screen closely.)
posted by divabat at 10:35 PM on August 6, 2010

Yeah, I was enjoying the game as well, but I gave up after it kept sticking, or throwing me into endless conversation loops. It's a pity it's so wonky; Channel 4 would have really had something if they had waited until the game was done before they released it.

On preview: yeah, divabat, I loled at Doctorow.
posted by maqsarian at 10:43 PM on August 6, 2010

Sounds like a great Doctor Who episode... oh, you don't say Karen Gillan, did you.

posted by m@f at 11:54 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Ah, I see. You aren't supposed to be able to play past the first part, huh?

Supposedly there's some see-you-next-week type of message, but I guess I missed it.
posted by KChasm at 12:11 AM on August 7, 2010

Wow. So the future of cutting-edge video games will involve pixel hunting and craptastic FMV.

1994 really was the future!
posted by bardic at 12:19 AM on August 7, 2010

Heh. I recognised one of the suspects on the laptop. Turns out it's the lead designer at Little Loud, who I went to university with. BSc Human and Computer Sciences represent!
posted by Artw at 12:42 AM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

it's actually your FB friends, if you hadn't noticed ;)
posted by divabat at 1:20 AM on August 7, 2010

Wow. So the future of cutting-edge video games will involve pixel hunting and craptastic FMV.

1994 really was the future!

Hey, if you look at the clickable pixels through the futurephone you can see Warren Ellis trapped in 1997.
posted by Artw at 1:27 AM on August 7, 2010

The time on loadscenes would make C-64 owners with a 1541c drive proud...

Neat story.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:21 AM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

I remember Kieron Gillen from when he was just another poster on Warren Ellis's delphi forum. Nice to see that he's done well for himself.

He's easily the best person writing on games right now.
posted by empath at 6:58 AM on August 7, 2010

Beautiful game, love the production. It's just a bit problematic that the distopia it portrays is much more exciting than my own life, lacking as it is in secret encounters and contraband and lawless women.
posted by eeeeeez at 7:50 AM on August 7, 2010

m@f: Sounds like a great Doctor Who episode... oh, you don't say Karen Gillan, did you.


I can't imagine what would happen if it turned out Ms. Gillan was also a games journalist and wrote computer games set in a dystopian near future in her spare time.

Actually, I can. And the universal collective fan-gasm would not be pretty.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:28 AM on August 7, 2010

I've spent three times as long waiting on load screens as actually playing so far, and I have just too many other things I could be doing right now. A shame, it sounded interesting.
posted by Caduceus at 9:59 AM on August 7, 2010

Well, after having the game hang on me 4 times, just after completing Aisha's living room but just before saving game state, I'm done with it.
posted by eeeeeez at 10:25 AM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

From Littleloud's twitter feed: "We're currently looking at some problems on the live BETA of #thecurfewgame Thanks for your patience!" So hopefully they'll have it fixed soon. Also apparently the game was supposed to be in 4 weekly installments — I wonder if the first one was meant to end right after Aisha's home?
posted by catchingsignals at 10:49 AM on August 7, 2010

Web 2.0 ruined the conceept of beta for everyone.
posted by Artw at 10:51 AM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yeah, but why did they announce the launch (no mention of beta) on July 29th then?

Sorry everyone. I'll update as soon as I know they've fixed it.
posted by catchingsignals at 11:03 AM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Wow this is a really cool game. Unfortunately it froze for me, but I still like it. Thanks for posting the link. I guess I should visit the blue more often.
posted by 1000monkeys at 4:57 PM on August 7, 2010

Yeah, it froze for me, too.
posted by empath at 5:14 PM on August 7, 2010

I like it, despite the bugginess and slooooow loads. Fix it, channel4!
posted by drhydro at 9:10 PM on August 7, 2010

Did anyone see the book on the shelf in Aisha's parents' house I think it was - "Harry Potter and the Perpetual Series Extension"?
posted by XMLicious at 10:23 PM on August 7, 2010

Despite the warnings here, still got buggy when I finally began playing it this morning and held up at the end of my first questioning cycle (of Lucas) but up until that point I enjoyed it. Would like to play it through and recommend it to others once it starts working.

A bit heavy-handed in its messaging, like Cory Doctoow's Little Brother, but as far as I'm concerned, the message is important enough that a brick bat treatment is far from the worst thing in the world.

But like many "cool dystopias" it makes me long for the end-times to come before I get too old to enjoy them. I'm bored with all the trouble I know how to get into in 2010.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:44 AM on August 8, 2010

Do the subtitles work for anyone? I can't seem to get them to work at all.
posted by epj at 2:57 PM on August 8, 2010

They didn't work for me either.
posted by maqsarian at 3:16 PM on August 8, 2010

The subtitles worked for me but ironically they were layered on top of the CYA text at the bottom disclaiming it as a buggy beta version, so they were unreadable.
posted by XMLicious at 10:13 PM on August 8, 2010

I checked tonight, and they're fixing something -- the transition from Lucas to Aisha is now there, a bonus material area that wasn't working before now does, but at least one new bug's been introduced, and more importantly, still can't get past Aisha's home. Will update when it's working. Such a terrible launch.
posted by catchingsignals at 1:50 PM on August 9, 2010

Just ran through it on a new save- just in case. Can now leave the house, and ask questions- can't find more than two items in Aisha's first area though. We'll have a go at the next section.
posted by LD Feral at 2:09 PM on August 10, 2010

I thought I was stuck for a minute after Aisha's second question session, but it turns out it was just loading time.

That said, I can't figure out what to do in the alleyway. Nothing much to click on, except the regular government tags.
posted by KChasm at 4:51 PM on August 10, 2010

I was able to play through this entirely tonight, from beginning to end. A couple of buggy spots (I heard some Lucas soundclips while playing through Leah and I had an irritating sound repeating every 45 seconds or so after the camera thing on Leah) but was able to go through to the end. Unfortunately, I didn't pick the right person...

As to the alleyway on Aisha, click on the door -- should give you a magnifying glass when you hover over it. Then there's something you can do with an object from the ground.

Thanks for the awesome link, catchingsignals. I had a blast playing through this.
posted by juliebug at 7:53 PM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Can someone please tell me what to do in Aisha's house? I found the bonus and see the computer (but can't do anything) and the bookshelf. Now what?
posted by 1000monkeys at 10:48 PM on August 10, 2010

Oops, NVM thanks
posted by 1000monkeys at 10:54 PM on August 10, 2010

I finished the ex-cops story. And then I clicked on him again, and he began talking like I'd clicked on him the first time. And then the game stopped.

And then it restarted.

And now all my data is gone.

...I'm not doing all that again.
posted by KChasm at 1:15 AM on August 11, 2010

God KChasm, was it just before you had to choose who to give the data to? When the phone was ringing? I didn't try to talk to any of them, answered the phone right way, and got all the way through to the end. I'm sorry they lost your save! I guess to be on the safe side, people who want to play it might want to wait a couple more days, just to give them more time to have the bugs ironed out. It did crash once for me during Saul's story, but I restarted and was able to play through. It's such a shame — it's a really good game!

juliebug, I'm glad you liked it! I didn't pick the right person either. In retrospect, I really made the stupidest choice — though I could see reasons why each one of them might hand the data to the cops... I hear there are 8 endings, I imagine two for each character, depending on whether they trust you or not. It's really a very good game, without the bugs. The questions to earn their trust got genuinely challenging late on, and there were some laugh-out-loud moments.

I might start from the beginning and try to choose the right person this time, though I was thinking, maybe if we backup the files in our flash cache, we can reload at any save point without having to play through again? And that might be good protection against any bugs too.

Did you like all the cleaning we had to do juliebug? :) I found that really interesting, the potential emotional impact of it on the player.
posted by catchingsignals at 1:08 PM on August 11, 2010

Yes - you can play right through now. But when I chose the wrong person, I reloaded to get back to my last save point, but it had been erased. I'm going through the whole game again. Enjoyable though.
posted by idiomatika at 3:01 PM on August 11, 2010

catchingsignals - I'm pretty sure I picked the wrong person, but also pretty sure that they trusted me. I eliminated someone by virtue of my not trusting THEM, then I felt someone else was surely going to get caught, so that left me with two real choices, in my opinion. In retrospect, maybe I shouldn't have been so quick as to eliminate the person I did, or maybe I should have chosen the other of the two I had it narrowed down to. It was a lot of fun, at any rate.

I really enjoyed the questions at the safehouse, although I suspect I missed out on a lot of bonus questions.

The cleaning was hilarious, at first. The first time I played through (getting bugged on Lucas), I couldn't get past the window cleaning! For whatever reason, the sponge wasn't working properly and was NOT cleaning the window half as fast as it did in subsequent attempts! I barely had one of the windows clean at 20 seconds and was like "This is not going to happen..." It later made me (like Lucas) think about how sad it was that he had to rely on someone like Lucas to clean the windows. That's one screwed up future.

I liked the cleaning on Saul, too -- that was an interesting repercussion of Shamus' actions.

My last saved game was wiped clean after I made my choice, too. I'm probably going to go back and play through it again, though. It was really entertaining and thought-provoking. And I love the air tags!
posted by juliebug at 4:15 PM on August 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Hopefully, someone'll upload the endings all to YouTube or something.

I've checked now, but there's only an Aisha ending.
posted by KChasm at 5:11 PM on August 11, 2010

Boo, I chose the wrong person too - and I chose them because I felt most in tune with their story (having been through something suspiciously close).
posted by divabat at 5:00 PM on August 13, 2010

What do you mean there's only an Aisha ending KChasm?

juliebug: The cleaning in Saul's segment was kind of fascinating to me, because it was such a chore &mdash it just wasn't something people expect to have to do in a game, it took such a long time, with nothing at all interesting happening. I felt like it had the effect of making the story more real, helping the player feel attached to the character and what he was doing for his friend. I love when game creators take risks like that in their storytelling.

divabat: you too huh? Maybe none of them are trustworthy! *Dramatic Chipmunk*

*** Somewhat spoilery for people who haven't played through it ***

I had reasons to doubt all of them:

Lucas &mdash too immature, possibly.
Aisha &mdash might trade / be forced to trade for her parents' freedom.
Leah &mdash story sounds implausible.
Saul &mdash the game almost goes out of its way to tell you there's something wrong with him.

*** end spoilers ***

I really enjoyed the questions though. It's been a while since I played a game of this type where the questions were this good — it really felt like they all had their own unique, sometimes unpredictable personalities, and you had to flatter them, make them laugh, or earn their respect, depending on the situation and the person. And I loved when they turned the question back on you — the tension in those moments was really well done.

One of us really need to try backing up and reloading our Flash cache — however much we enjoy the game, we are probably not going to play through it eight times to get all the endings. (Though I guess wait a while, and they'll probably be on Youtube...) If we backup the Flash cache just before the decision-making segment, we should only need to play through twice, once to get all the characters to trust you, and once to alienate them all — and reload to see the endings for each of the characters. When I get some time, I'll give it a try. (Although I wouldn't mind playing through at least once more, to catch all the jokes I missed whilst hurrying through the contraband...)
posted by catchingsignals at 6:38 PM on August 13, 2010

Oh and juliebug, since you loved the air tags :)

The future is really not that far away. When they were talking in the game about the impact of the cuts in 2010...
posted by catchingsignals at 6:53 PM on August 13, 2010

Sorry--I meant on Youtube, last time I checked. I've looked for endings, but I've only found this.
posted by KChasm at 5:19 AM on August 14, 2010

Oh right, KChasm. Thanks for that --

Uru, V jnf evtug nobhg Nvfun ng yrnfg. (ROT13 for spoilers. Is there a better way to post spoilers on Mefi?)
posted by catchingsignals at 7:30 AM on August 14, 2010

Is there a better way to post spoilers on Mefi?

We used mouseover text for this in some of the Doctor Who threads. It worked pretty well.

<a title="Darth Vader kills Dumbledore's sled.">spoiler</a>


posted by maqsarian at 10:27 AM on August 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by catchingsignals at 7:09 AM on August 15, 2010

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